Friday, February 6, 2009


Thanks to the benevolent insistence of the Vermont Department of Public Safety, I have a spray booth in my shop. While I certainly whined about the cost -- I sprayed finishes for over twenty years without one -- now that I have it I really like it. It makes it a lot easier to get a wide variety of quality finishes, and hopefully I'll stay a little healthier to boot.

Because I have this facility, some of the other local furniture guys have asked me to do finishing for them when they need something special. My friend Dan Mosheim built this beautiful Macassar ebony cabinet; it needed a really deep, lustrous finish to set off the elegant abalone inlaid rosette and sumptuous materials. Dan wanted a finish with enough warmth (amber) to highlight the ebony, but one that wouldn't drastically change the color of the shell. We decided on precatalyzed lacquer.

I applied three coats and sanded it flat to be sure the pores of the ebony were filled, then sprayed three more coats on top. Normally I would smooth the finish with fine steel wool and wax, but it looked and felt so good right from the gun that we were afraid to do anything else.

The piece has a lovely depth of finish without being garish; I think it's the platonic ideal of elegance.


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